Friday, May 28, 2010

may 28 - our once and future library

Blogging, like nearly everything else in my life, including stitching, has taken a back seat these past several months. I thought it might be a good idea to try & explain what has been going on...I'll try to be brief, but am not making any promises!

The photo in my previous post is of a beautiful old Carnegie library. This was our library's home until 1995. At that time, the library was moved to a converted hardware store. The Carnegie was just too small & the new place was twice as big. Of course, it kind of looked like what it was, and although being larger, there were no windows and the lighting was terrible. Not a great space for a library, to say the least.

That was the same year I started working here. It was supposed to be a 5 year lease. I've been here for 15 years.

We had some really good years, funding-wise, and then about 6 years ago, the City had major budget problems & we had our budget cut to nearly zero & barely survived. The City Manager at the time did not think the library was the City's responsibility. Luckily, we had a County Library District pass a year or so ago which guarantees our operating funds. It does not guarantee a building however.

Through all these years, itr was apparent that we were outgrowing our space once again. And after years of ignoring this fact, the City Commission finally started thinking that maybe something needed to be done. But not too quickly, of course...why rush into something?

So fast forward to this year. e have a District, we have operating funds, and now we even have an in-house library director again and are our own department once more. (We have been part of parks & rec for about 8 years and I have been one of the daily managers here with an off-site director). When our director was hired, she knew that finding a new site for the library was a priority, so we sat down and mapped out a plan to do it right...step by step.

And then things started to go terribly wrong. Our landlord told us that he had plans to remodel the building (we are in one of those malls where there is a supermarket with lots of other retail spaces around it, so kind of all one big building in a way) We will have to find another space. So we speed up the search, but there are not many, if any, suitable spots for a library in this town.
We hear about an old school building that is for sale. This was actually a site we had looked at years ago in one of many of our building searches that went nowhere. So we proceed. We are assured that even if it takes some time, the store will not be remodeled that quickly and we should have a roof over our heads.

But then the landlord drops the bomb. He has decided to sell to Safeway ( a large supermarket chain), and we have to be out of the building by May 31. So now we are basically a library without a home. The school sale plods along, and finally 2 weeks ago both parties agreed to the terms. Of course the building still needs all the inspections done, the site needs to be re-zoned, and then re-modeled. This will take anywhere from 1 -2 years at best. What are we supposed to do?

Guess which building the City actually owns? Yup...the Carnegie building. The same one we left 15 years ago because it was too small...and guess what? It's even smaller now, due to some remodeling. So the past few months have been spent deleting books from our collection, having some huge book sales, finding movers, trying to figure out what materials we can take and what will have to go into's been a nightmare. And we have to be out by June 15 so now that it's getting really close it's also getting more scary.

The Carnegie is a beautiful old building and I am really looking forward to working there. I did a few story times there years ago after the library had moved out and there was a Children's Museum in the building. I just wish it wasn't so small! Our services will suffer because we won't have as many materials, and I'm the one who has to decide what we take and what we pressure there!

But the move will be over in a few weeks and we will all settle in and everything will be back to will just be a different kind of normal.

So I am really looking forward to these three days off...and if you've read this! Thanks for sticking with me!

And thanks for visiting!


  1. I saw the word 'library' and came running. ;-) Books..must have...

    Have a great weekend.

  2. Wow! You've must have been experiencing major amounts of stress. I sure hope your patrons have been supportive. I also hope that when you get to move into your bigger building that there is a budget to increase your materials significantly. I've never thought of libraries needing to destash! Enjoy your three days off!

  3. The Carnegie building does seem to have class and history. Change can be very good sometime, but I know it's been a lot of work for you, both mental and physical to get it all done. So! take advantage of these days off...relax and enjoy and pick up a needle...or not :)

  4. Goodness, what an adventure your library has had! No wonder you have been a bit quiet lately. Wishing you success in your "new" digs and hoping the library will be able to move into bigger quarters quickly. *hugs*

  5. Wow! You definitely need these three days (and probably a few more) for some R&R. I would like to say "thank you" though for what you do. I don't know what we would do without our city library. We love books and reading - my sons got through books like some kids go through bags of Cheetos (or whatever the favorite snack food is). What you do is priceless - the love and care you have for your city's library! So, thank you, thank you, thank you!

  6. That's so sad. :(
    I used to go to the library so so so often when I was growing up. I seriously don't believe I would have survived my childhood without that lifeline to get me out of my head from all the awful crap going on at home.
    I hope everything works out in the end.

  7. I am sorry to hear that the library will once again be placed into a building that is too small for it causing you to have to get rid of a lot of materials. How the city is treating your library is really unfair.

    I hope the move goes as smoothly as possible! Enjoy your three days off, it sounds like you can really use the rest.

  8. Libraries are so important! Our local ones here are suffering somewhat too; my favorite is the "BCCLS" system (acronym for Bergen County Blah Blah Blah--perhaps Co-op Library System). The point of it is that many libraries allow lending to patrons from other towns and share their collections. You can log online and request materials your local doesn't have and they are delivered there for you to pick up!

    Point is, I really like the library and it makes me feel like I benefit in some really direct, personal way from the taxes our family pays.

    I'm so glad that yours has a space to go into, even though it may be small while the deal is finalized. Sounds like it's so much nicer than the one you're in! Good luck with your days off and the transition afterward!

  9. Hello, great blog.. nice to meet you. I'm over in sunny Australia :) nice and warm although I miss UK & Ireland where I'm from.

    Love libraries as well.. great places to hang out. Wish I could read more.. too many young children to care for here.. so any spare time is left for stitching and designing!

  10. Lynda,

    Hope the move goes smoothly. Hope you aren't too cramped in the new/old building. :-)

  11. What a stressful situation. I hope everything goes smootly with the library move and will be back to normal as soon as possible.

  12. Hope things will get back to normal soon!

  13. wow, Lynda, what a challenge! Well, I hope things improve with your building progress. Good luck with the weeding too!

  14. I am sorry for your library and you, who must tackle along all that! It must be a huge work. Take one day at a time. I believe all turns well in the end.


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